Back in print with a new preface by Robert Barron, fifty inspiring lessons to deepen your faith from one of the leading religious figures of the twentieth century and author of the Catholic bestseller Life of Christ.
For over four decades, Fulton Sheen was the face of Catholicism in America and literally received hundreds of thousands of letters from people around the world in search of truth, faith, salvation, and spiritual guidance. In this newly repackaged reissue of one of Sheen's classic works, the Emmy Award-winning priest takes an intimate look at our sacred journey to God and answers some of life's most profound questions. With his clever wit and straightforward language, he explains how we can find contentment in the modern world by applying the Christian philosophy of life in our day-to-day exchanges.
Drawing authority from scripture, and created for people of all ages and backgrounds, Sheen explores our journey home to God in an insightful conversation designed to strengthen the reader's personal relationship with Jesus. Sheen also shares humorous stories that made him one of the most celebrated personalities of his time. This book is a lasting testament that your life is worth living.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was an archbishop of the Catholic Church. His cause for canonization as a saint was opened in 2002, and in 2012 Pope Benedict XVI recognized a decree stating that he had lived a life of “heroic virtues” and is now posthumously referred to as Venerable. Sheen was host of the radio show The Catholic Hour between 1930 and 1950 before switching to television as the host of Life Is Worth Living and then The Fulton Sheen Program. He was a two-time Emmy Award winner for Most Outstanding Television Personality, and his face appeared on the cover of Time magazine. He died in 1979, and is now remembered as one of the world's first televangelists.
Father Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, the Rector of Mundelein Seminary, and the host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic faith. He received a master's degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of America (1982) and a doctorate in sacred theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris (1992). He has published numerous books, essays, and articles on theology and the spiritual life. He has also appeared on several media outlets including NBC, PBS, FOX News, CNN, and EWTN. His website, WordOnFire.org, has reached over 3.8 million people and his weekly YouTube videos have been viewed over nine million times. His pioneering work in evangelizing through the new media led Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, to describe him as "one of the Church's best messengers."
Read an Excerpt
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE
Peace be to you. There are two ways of waking up in the morning. One is to say, “Good morning, God,” and the other is to say, “Good God, morning!” We are going to start with the second.
People who wake up that way have an anxiety about life. Life seems rather absurd to them, and considerable literature is being produced today on the absurdity of life. One of the best expressions of that absurdity is a novel with two factories, on either side of a river. One factory took great big stones, smashed and ground them into powder, and shipped the powder to the other side of the river, where the other factory turned them into great big boulders. Then the boulders were sent back to the first factory and so the routine continued. This is a literary expression of the way people regard life today.
One finds this absurdity expressed in a play by an existentialist who pictured three people in hell. Each one wanted to talk about himself, his own aches and his own pains. The others were only interested in their own aches and pains. Finally, when the curtain goes down, the last line is “My neighbor is hell!” which is the way some people live. Along with this sense of absurdity there is also a drift. Many minds are like Old Man River; they just keep floating along, no goal, just a kind of an arrow without a target, pilgrims without a shrine, journeys at sea without any kind of a port. What is the common conclusion of people who wake up and say, “Good God, morning”? To them, life has no meaning; it is without purpose, goal, or destiny.
I remember when I first went to Europe to study as a young priest. I was taking courses during the summer at the Sorbonne in Paris, principally in order to learn French. I dwelled in a boardinghouse that belonged to Madame Citroën. I was there about a week when she came to me and said something, but it was all French to me. You get so angry in Paris because the dogs and horses understand French, and you don’t! There were three American schoolteachers living in the boardinghouse, and I asked them to act as interpreters. This is the story that came out.
Madame Citroën said after her marriage, her husband left her, and a daughter that was born to them became a moral wreck on the streets of Paris. Then she pulled out of her pocket a small vial of poison.
She said, “I do not believe in God, and if there is one, I curse Him. I’ve decided since life has no meaning and is absurd, to take this poison tonight. Can you do anything for me?”
Through the interpreter I said, “I can if you’re going to take that stuff!”
I asked her to postpone her suicide for nine days. I think it is the only case on record of a woman postponing suicide for nine days. I never prayed before as I prayed for that woman. On the ninth day the good Lord gave her great grace. Some years later on the way to Lourdes, I stopped off in the city of Dax, where I enjoyed the hospitality of Monsieur, Madame, and Mademoiselle Citroën.
I said to the village priest, “Are the Citroëns good Catholics?”
“Oh,” he said. “It’s wonderful when people keep the faith all during their lives.”
Obviously, he did not know the story. So it’s possible to find one’s way out of this absurdity.
Let’s come to a question which interests all psychiatrists and all of us, “What is the difference between a normal and an abnormal person?” A normal person always works toward a goal or purpose; the abnormal person looks for escape mechanisms, excuses, and rationalizations to avoid discovering the meaning and purpose of life. The normal person sets for himself a goal. A young man may want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but beyond that there is something else.
Suppose you ask, “What do you want to do after you become a doctor?”
“Well. I want to marry and raise children.”
“Be happy and make money.”
“Give money to my children.”
There comes a last “And then?” The normal person knows what that “and then” is. The abnormal person is locked up within the barrel of his own ego. He’s like an egg that’s never been hatched. He refuses to submit himself to divine incubation in order to arrive at a different life than he has.
What are some of the escape mechanisms of the abnormal person? If he wants to go from New York to Washington, he isn’t concerned about Washington; he’s concerned about giving excuses why he doesn’t go to Washington. A common escape mechanism for the abnormal person is a love of speed. I believe that an excessive love of speed or, should I say, a love of excessive speed, is due to the want of a goal or purpose in life. So they do not know where they are going, but they certainly are on their way! There may even be an unconscious, or half-conscious, desire to end life because it is without purpose. Another escape can be sex, as well as throwing oneself into business in an abnormal kind of way in order to have the intensity of an experience atone for a want of goal or purpose.
One very famous psychiatrist, Dr. Carl Jung, said that after twenty-five years of experiences dealing with mental patients, at least one-third of his patients had no observable clinical neurosis. All of them were suffering from a want of the meaning and purpose of life, and not until they discovered that would they ever be happy. The vast majority of people today are suffering from what might be called an existential neurosis, the anxiety and the problem of living. They ask, “What is it all about?” “Where do I go from here?” “How do I find it?”
You may be thinking, now I’m going to tell you to get down on your knees and pray to God. No, I’m not. I may say that a little later, because people who have an existential neurosis are too far away from that for the moment. I’m offering two solutions: the first, go out and help your neighbor. Those who suffer from an anxiety of life live only for themselves. Their minds and hearts have been dammed up. All of the scum of the river of life makes the heart and mind a kind of a garbage heap, and the easiest way out is to love people whom you see. If we do not love those whom we see, how can we love God, whom we do not see? Visit the sick. Be kind to the poor. Help the healing of lepers. Find your neighbor, and a neighbor is someone in need. Once you do this, you begin to break out of the shell. You discover that your neighbor is not hell, as Sartre says, your neighbor is part of yourself and is a creature of God.
A father brought his young son to me, a conceited young delinquent, who had given up his faith and was bitter with himself and everyone whom he met. Following our visit the boy ran away from home for a year. The boy came back just as bad, and the father brought him to me asking, “What should I do with him?” I advised him to send his son to a school outside the United States. About a year later the boy came back to see me, requesting, “Would you be willing to give me moral support for an enterprise I have undertaken in Mexico? There is a group of boys in the college where I am who have built a little school. We have gone all around the neighborhood and brought in children to teach them catechism. We have also brought a doctor from the United States, once a year for one month, to take care of the sick people of the neighborhood.”
And I asked, “How did you become interested in this?”
He replied, “The boys went down there during the summer and I joined them.”
He recovered his faith, morals, and everything else in his neighbor. It is the poor, indigent, needy, sick, fellow creatures of God, who give to us great strength. Some years ago there was an Indian who went into Tibet. He went in to do evangelizing in that non-Christian country with a Tibetan guide. During the trip they got very cold crossing the foothills of the Himalayas and sat down, exhausted and almost frozen. This Indian, whose name was Singh, said, “I think I hear a man moaning down there in the abyss!”
The Tibetan said, “You’re almost dead yourself, you can’t help him!”
Singh said, “Yes, I will help him.”